August: Costa Rica 2

August 1, 2019. Our penultimate day on the Osa Peninsula was spent on the Sierpe River. Words fail me… or so it seems, but, in fact, I have posted about this experience several times already: To see the river from the air, go here. And for a more reflective post after returning home, check out this.

Green Heron (Butorides virescens)

Yet scanning through my several hundred frames shot that day, I could tell many more stories about the Sierpe River. But one stands out, in part because the emblematic photo from that encounter has been accepted and a framed print will soon be on its way to the 4th Biennial Wings & Water Juried Exhibit in Prairie du Sac, WI. I’m pretty happy about that!

I have told a longer version of the story here. In short, a roadside hawk has swooped in and perched in a bush maybe 30 feet away up the bank. And there it sat, eyes on the baby heron, for maybe five minutes. The mother heron joined her baby on the ficus roots, but momentarily. Mostly, she fluffed her feathers and spread her wings and swooped around with every ounce of fierceness she could muster, until the hawk gave up and left.

Confession: Do you wish you could see the tips of the wings of these birds? So do I! In the heat of the action, even rapid fire shooting, I have exactly one frame with mother and baby in the frame and in focus. And I am the only one of five photographers in the boat who got the shot!

But in that one frame, the mother’s wing tips are cut off. There was no time for careful composition. So I had to crop off the tips of the baby’s wings to make the photo work at all. Such is wildlife photography.

But… maybe, just maybe, it’s better this way. It makes the action feel like it is exploding out of the frame and at the same time intensifies the interaction between mother and baby. At least that’s how it feels to me, but… I was there!

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